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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Edward Livingston Youmans   25 September 1870

New York

Sep. 25 1870

Mr Charles Darwin


I have been long interested in pushing into notice in this country the books on Biological literature which appear in England, and prompted the Appletons to reprint the last edition of the “Origin of Species”1 I believe they have an arrangement with you to republish your forthcoming book2 and I now write in their behalf to call your attention to one or two practical business points respecting it.

As the stereotype plates are to be cast in London I desire to say first that it is very important for success here that the page should not be large. Macmillan’s American edition of Wallace’s late book on Natural Selection is an excellent model.3 Galton’s Hereditary Genius is too large.4 Huxley’s Lay Sermons is too large and so for the edition we are now printing Mr Macmillan extracted the leads and made the page smaller.5 Should the page of your new book be large I would urge a similar course with it. Again, it is very important for us that the book should come out simultaneously in the two countries.6 I will not trouble you with details but it works very badly when the book is just back here. I could show you how Macmillans neglect in this matter cost Mr Galton the success of his book on this side. Mr Longman treated us in the same way in regard to Mr Mills book on Women and although we were bound to pay Mr Mill a “copyright” on the sales the plates came so late that a Philadelphia House got the book out in advance of us, and undersold us hence they had nothing to pay to the author.7 Of course the English Publisher doesnt care for this and is interested to delay the American reprint that he may send a few copies to the American market but it is the authors interest to prevent this. We should also be greatly helped in handling a new book if we could have the sheets sent us as just as they go through the English press. There is an art in handling a new book so as to give it the fullest and fairest chance with the public, but the publisher has no chance if kept in ignorance of the character and contents of the work.8

Very respectfully | E. L. Youmans


Origin 2d US ed. was published by the New York firm of D. Appleton & Co..
On the arrangement with D. Appleton & Co. to publish Descent, see the letter from Asa Gray, 14 February 1870 and n. 5.
The American edition of Alfred Russel Wallace’s Contributions to the theory of natural selection (Wallace 1870a) was published by Macmillan and Co. of New York.
The American edition of Francis Galton’s Hereditary genius: an inquiry into its laws and consequences (Galton 1869) was published by D. Appleton & Co. in 1870.
The American edition of Thomas Henry Huxley’s Lay sermons, addresses, and reviews (Huxley 1870a) was published by D. Appleton & Co. in 1870. The reference is to Alexander Macmillan.
Descent was published in England on 24 February 1871. The page length of Descent was 185mm, whereas Variation had been 215mm.
John Stuart Mill’s The subjection of women was published by Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer (Mill 1869). An American edition was published in Philadelphia by Lippincott in 1869; D. Appleton & Co. also published an edition in 1870.
In 1871, Youmans founded the International Scientific Series, which provided for publication of books in North America and Europe, with payment to the authors from sales in all countries (see Howsam 2000).


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Galton, Francis. 1869. Hereditary genius: an inquiry into its laws and consequences. London: Macmillan.

Howsam, Leslie. 2000. An experiment with science for the nineteenth-century book trade: the International Scientific Series. British Journal for the History of Science 33: 187–207.

Mill, John Stuart. 1869. The subjection of women. London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer.

Origin 2d US ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. From the fifth London edition, with additions and corrections. New York: D. Appleton. 1870.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Concerning an American edition of Descent by Appleton’s.

Letter details

Letter no.
Edward Livingston Youmans
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
New York
Source of text
DAR 183: 2
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7324,” accessed on 11 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18